The robust industry called business process outsourcing (BPO) is one of the largest employers in the Philippines today. Being as such, the Philippine government is constantly looking into their condition to ensure that occupational safety and health standards are followed.
In 2008, the Phililippines’ Department of Labor carried out a nationwide survey to at least 426 BPO firms that employ a total of 282,441 employees. They found that majority of the companies comply with the requirements for a safe and healthy facilities and workplaces such as having the following:
- Sufficient fire extinguishers and exhaust systems
- This is to protect the buildings from fires and take gases out, especially during emergency situations.
- Adequate lighting and ventilation, as well as passageways
- This enables every employee to enjoy appropriate lighting for safety as well as good air circulation, to make the workplace habitable.
- Ergonomically-designed work stations
- This involves improving the comfort, safety, and productivity of people in a working environment.
- Rooms for necessary medical treatment
This includes having adequate equipment and supplies to perform necessary remediation.
Policies, programs, and trainings
According to the same survey, a total of 324 BPO establishments are implementing a drug-free policy program within their premises. These are in line with existing department orders and guidelines.
Meanwhile, a total of 137 firms have a policy and program toward HIV/AIDS prevention, while 209 firms carry out a program to control and prevent tuberculosis.
The department, together with adjacent agencies, has continuously conducted occupational safety and health training among the employees and personnel of BPO companies.
These efforts consequently led to the formulation and issuance of a department circular stating the policies governing occupation safety and health in the BPO industry, including the technical guidelines.
In addition, the circular comprises the following: advocacy and capacity building, compliance to general labor standards, as well as monitoring of compliance and research. A related module was developed focusing on industry situation, and basic concepts and principles of health and safety, including responses and intervention.